Keeping it real ; Part 3

You may remember my previous two posts of what is now known (mainly just to me) as the keeping it real series

https://midwifenextdoor.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/keeping-it-real/

So, here is the latest offering:

Some July’s you find yourself run over, physically broken in bones you didn’t even know the name of .

Some July’s you find yourself lost, confused, unable to break the cycle of toxic relationships, self esteem at rock bottom and ready to give up…..but then…

Some July’s you find yourself on an impromptu trip to Brighton with someone lovely, sitting in a bath at 1am eating crisps to the sound of nocturnal seagulls knowing you won’t sleep all night because you don’t want to miss a minute of the excellent adventure you are having…..some July’s you find yourself sat across from an unexpected friend drinking lovely wine and laughing about your ridiculous dating experiences past, present and future…and you don’t even mind that it is raining and you’re sat outside in a crowded London bar with a million other people….some July’s you realise that despite being completely skint and still unable to return to the day job, it’s quite ok because you are getting to teach yoga and although it will never make you rich, it makes you unfailingly happy every day….some July’s you spend time with your big sister and watch as all of your children play and realise that despite her breaking your fingers when you were 11 years old, you now have forgiven her and feel more connected than ever….and some July’s you have a friend who not only makes you laugh until you nearly cry and wants to push you on to even better things but also reminds you to update your blog…

The ups and downs have been huge over the past couple of years but if I’ve been learning anything whilst documenting all this in the blog…it is that fighting against the challenging stuff makes it tougher and lying back and just rolling with it is my current preferred choice.

Just keeping it real…yet again….

Once upon a wardrobe…

I recently completed a course in seasonal yoga…it has completely heightened my awareness of the different seasons and has helped me see why I do the things I do and feel the things I feel with the changes of the seasons…I shall blog about this in more detail at some point but for now…spring…

I don’t know about you but I’ve been overwhelmed with the urge to spring clean over the past couple of weeks…sorting through the junk drawer, tidying up that massive pile of paperwork that we all get growing in the corner of a table or shelf somewhere and then on Tuesday I decided it was time to get really serious and hit my wardrobe.

I emptied it all completely, throwing everything on to my bed with the logic that I would have to complete the task if I wanted to sleep that night and I started going through it, item by item. I wasn’t prepared for the emotional journey the act of sorting through my clothes would take me on. Every item had attached to it a memory of a time that I wore it…a wedding, a funeral, the story of a holiday, times with my children, heart wrenching relationship memories of happy days and nights. In the pocket of a jacket, a train ticket from the last day I was at work. So much of my life, clothes from over ten years ago….a range of sizes, some very questionable fashion choices, some hidden gems, old friends that will always have a place. It was all there. Some items that I did a Marie Kondo with and thanked them for the good times as I chucked them in the bag for the charity shop, some (most, to be fair) hung back up inside with a promise that I will definitely give them another chance this time, some eyed suspiciously and told that they might not make the cut next time if I don’t wear them again within the next six months. I FaceTimed my friend Lisa half way through as I’d found two dresses that I had never worn that were absolutely made for her. It was all a highly emotional but cathartic experience.

The next day my friend Gina had come to stay and asked to browse the bag of stuff I was through with and she picked out several items and tried them on and generally twirled about in my bedroom and these clothes took on a whole new life…my stories told, they were about to go on a new journey of memories with someone special.

Writing this blog this evening, sat on a train London bound wearing a brand new dress and now wondering what stories this one will tell me in years to come….I’ll let you know ❤️

Wardrobes eh…who’d have thought they would be such storytellers .

I wonder what this new dress will tell in years to come…

September’s

Some September’s you’re planning to leave your husband and start a new life and are shitting yourself…

Some September’s you’re feeling empowered and you’ve reconnected with old friends and are excited about the future…

Some September’s you’re pretty sure you’ve actually finally got your shit together, you’re about to run a half marathon and you’re going through an experimental Tinder phase…

Some September’s you find yourself unable to take your kids to their first day back at school because you’ve been run over and you’re up to your eyes in plaster cast…

Some September’s you’re cutting maggot infested carpet with a pair of blunt scissors….making chicken soup for your dying cat, crying and planning on starting yet another new chapter….

September’s eh?! What would moving forward be if we weren’t able to glance back….

TTFN Midwife Nextdoor

I’ve been a midwife for about 12 years; I did further training in 2014 which almost bloody broke me whilst looking after 2 kids, I added Sonographer to my job title and started working in fertility which has been the most amazing career. I am so proud of my work.

This week has been quite a big deal. Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the accident I was involved in where I was the filling of a transporter van and Range Rover sandwich.

The past year has been the absolute worst of my life on every single human level…physically, mentally, emotionally but somehow, by some unknown force, I have got through it , but my life is unrecognisable from the one I had before 26 July 2017.

People have been either completely amazing or utterly terrible….I have been supported by gorgeous friends but have been on the receiving end of unpleasant gossip and speculation about the events of the day of the accident…to judgment about my relationships and I am grateful for all of it. I have been lucky to find out who my friends are and I am even fortunate to be in my 40’s and be able to stop and have the breathing space to examine what it is that is important in my life.

I have worked so so hard on making myself better again, since the new year I have been going to hand Physio up to three times a week which reduced me to tears every time through sheer pain. Leg Physio and weekly counselling to rebuild my traumatised mind. It’s been so tough but my goal had been to get back to work, get back to life looking like mine again.

Unfortunately my wrist in particular just cannot cooperate any more and today I had to lapse my registration with the NMC, the governing body for nurses and midwives in the UK. I can’t practice as a midwife for the first time in 15 years so Midwife Nextdoor as a blog has to undergo a big change. I am no longer the midwife next door !

I’m not sure what is coming next, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but watch this space…. I’m pretty sure something will happen but for now thank you for listening to all my midwife advice .

Lots of love

Becky Taylor

Stretch marks

So this morning my 7 year old changed the stretch mark game forever….this is what went down….

I was getting dressed so was standing there in just my undies when Stella immediately stopped what she was doing and a look of wonder came over her little face…she stepped closer…staring at my tummy…mesmerised*

“Mummy….wow….how do you get those amazing stripes on your skin? You are like a zebra….an amazing human zebra….can I get them, can you get them on me?”

Took me a minute for the penny to drop before I realised she was talking about my stretch marks. I’ve never really liked or embraced them, I try to be like those memes that say things like “I’m a tiger that earned its stripes” etc and followed the #loveyourlines with interest and admiration of the women who genuinely do love their stretch marks but personally I wasn’t a fan of mine. I got a few on my legs as a teenager with a spurt of puberty and growth…I mean it was a bit unfair because it’s not as if I actually grew very much (I’m only 5’2″) and I was pretty shocked to be honest….as if it wasn’t enough to deal with all the other changes my body was going through, stretch marks were taking the piss. Then during my first pregnancy my tiny frame suddenly grew with a big baby seemingly taking up every bit of space she could and the stretch marks appeared across my tummy….I tried remedies I’d been told about, massaging all manner of oils into my skin to no avail, they were here to stay and now 10 years on I don’t really think about them….until today…

The day I became a magical, human zebra in the eyes of my favourite 7 year old.

*i’m used to this look every time my boyfriend sees me undress 😂

Aren’t we amazing though?!

I saw an Instagram post the other day from the gorgeous @stylemesunday and it featured a pic of her looking knockout (obvs) and she commented on how amazing our bodies are….

I was thinking just the same thing…how incredible are we that our bodies can endure so much and yet they keep on going and giving and doing their shiz.

My own body…that’s housed two kids and birthed them, that got squished last summer and yet rebuilds and gets stronger by the day, that ran, that cycled, that accepts big nights of wine drinking on occasion and still is working with me…how can we not be in awe…

I visited a friend in hospital today who is very very poorly and yet his body and particularly his mind are having none of it.

My sister, who grew three babies inside her body AT THE SAME TIME!

My mum who’s body put up with toxic chemotherapy drugs that made her hair fall out and hallucinate but rebuilt and got strong again.

My friend took this picture of me today…you might see a woman having fun in the garden, you might see a chick in a bikini showing off, you might see back fat over the top of my bikini because I saw those things at first, but what is the picture really….it’s me, it’s a body that fights back, it’s strength and resilience, it’s hard work and patience, it’s a Mum, it’s my leg hurting, it’s sadness that my right wrist won’t bend anymore, it’s a work in progress and it’s pretty amazing when you really think about it.

Newborn reality…

I’ve got a new puppy, he is 13 weeks and brings joy to my life and to the lives of everyone he meets but he’s also a dickhead. Having a puppy is like having a new baby, although last week I locked him in his cage for an hour whilst I went to town and got my nails done and I never did that when I had a baby.

I was up with the puppy before 5am today and sat on the sofa bleary eyed scrolling through Instagram when I saw a poem by Hollie McNish (@holliepoetry) called “Newborn”. This week my eldest daughter turns 10, double digits at last, and this poem took me straight back to when she was a baby. Not the initial bit, the first few weeks when all the visitors come and the lack of sleep is a bit of a novelty, but the months that follow. The visitors have gone and you’re knackered and the baby just cries, feeds and fills her nappy. I had postnatal depression but actually now I wonder if maybe life was just hard and I was struggling. I’d moved to a new town, didn’t know anyone and had a baby.

Hollie’s poem reminded me of the days when I was up by 5am having had a few hours of broken sleep during the night and then with nothing else to do just aimlessly walking the streets pushing a pram trying to get my head round life never being the same again, my body never being the same again, feeling invisible.

Here is the poem..

Maybe it was just me but maybe it rings bells with you too. It gets better, you get better, the baby gets better, life feels alright again or you just become more accepting of the changes and before you know it your baby is about to turn 10 years old.

Setbacks and silver linings

I’ve been a midwife for over 10 years, I’ve looked after countless women and babies and I can honestly say that every woman I’ve come into contact with I have had in my mind how important my work is, how I’m touching these women’s lives at an incredibly special time that they will have etched on their soul for a lifetime, and that there’s a good chance they will remember me and the other midwives and doctors they come into contact with during their pregnancies. I have wanted their memory to be good, I have wanted them to remember the care I gave them was as individual as they are and I know that I succeeded this aim most of the time. I know by the number of times women have approached me whilst I’ve been doing my shopping in Saino’s to say hi with their now, quite frankly, huge children that are most definitely not babies anymore and they recount to me the stuff I said to them during their pregnancy or labour that I actually can’t remember but makes me laugh. I love this so much.

Since my accident last year I have met countless health professionals. What I’ve seen in the past 8 months mostly is that despite what you read in the Daily Mail, the NHS is not broken. It is filled with incredible humans with such vast amounts of compassion that it warms my heart. My consultant, who is an orthopaedic trauma surgeon, and his team are quite frankly amazing. I have not been an “easy” patient. I’ve been angry, frustrated and impatient most of the time but they have been there for me every step of the hideous process to either mop up my tears or give me a kick up the arse or both at the same time usually. As I walked in today for my outpatient fracture clinic appointment I had my consultant, his registrar and SHO all come and see me to talk about my progress…they remember every little detail, not just about the mechanics of my injuries but about my life, my kids, my boyfriend, my work, my love of red wine and loud music and running…they are truly with me through all of this.

I’m 8 months on from my injuries which will probably take 2 years in total to recover from fully and there are setbacks. My wrist injury was complicated, I’m probably still not getting back to work until the summer. My legs still don’t cooperate with me on stairs but nevertheless my doctors are impressed I’m not hobbling on crutches still and today we talked about the silver linings that have appeared. I’m training to be a yoga teacher which I never had time to do before, I’ve been having so much more time with my kids, I’ve been able to stop and think about the things I want in life. For every setback there’s a silver lining to be found. And if you’re struggling to see it there is also wine.

I’m full of gratitude tonight for all the silver linings and for the care I’ve received. We are so lucky to have our NHS 💖

A dedication to running

I am not a natural athlete….but if you know me you will know that I LOVE running. I always used to think that people who enjoyed running were trying to run from something in their life, but I became that person.

I started running as my marriage ended, I needed something to do when the kids were staying at their dads to combat the pain of missing them…I downloaded a couch to 5k app and hated every second of it. It hurt, I couldn’t breathe, I was so so so slow but I kept at it….something clicked and running took over. It became like therapy, as I ran tears would fall, as I ran I thought about challenges I faced, as I ran I planned things, as I ran I came up with ideas and solutions. I never wanted to do races or compete with others, I just wanted to be outside, running. A friend then suggested I take part in a half marathon as part of a group for a charity I was passionate about (https://www.tommys.org/) and I rushed into saying yes without thinking about it too much, I had never run further than 5k but there was ages to train. She put me in touch with another woman who had entered who had never run before. We were the worst combination of running buddy you could ever imagine. Most of our training involved rehydrating with several bottles of wine….but we became best of friends. Running had given me life back, it had started as therapy and evolved into something that I identified myself with, it gave me friendship and goals and a great bum.

We somehow managed to run that half marathon, it was the hardest thing I’d ever done and there were tears of pain and desperation that turned into tears of euphoria when we realised we’d done it and hadn’t come last. It was a culmination of so many emotions that day and I will never ever forget how strong I felt in the days, weeks and months that followed. I felt that literally anything was possible.

Since my accident last year my goal has been to get back to running, I’ve spent hours lying around fantasising about my comeback…how I would be a better runner than before because I’ve had the opportunity to miss it and see how important it is to me…Mo Farah would have nothing on me. My leg has been having other ideas, physios have been dodging the topic, telling me to wait, giving me exercises that I never seem to progress with. Today was a big day, seeing the consultant at the hospital for a big review of my injuries. The dr asked me my leg goals (thinner, more muscle definition, look hot in short skirts etc) and told me unless I want several knee operations I am never to run again….ever…

The tears came, and we talked and talked about it and I understand but he doesn’t. He doesn’t see how running saved me, he doesn’t see that running is a part of me, his advice is to learn acceptance and always to keep both feet firmly on the floor together at the same time…goodbye cartwheels too…I simply will not know who I am anymore…

I don’t understand why things happen to people sometimes, I know there is a lesson in everything. Perhaps I don’t need running anymore, perhaps I’ve had the lesson I needed from it. There will be something new…sure enough I have just enrolled in a yoga teacher training course and I will give it my all and I will gain strength in something different and be able to share that with others…..but…..running I will miss you and forever be grateful for what we had…I’m sorry I moaned about you and resisted and bitched about you to my friends….we weren’t together for a long time but we were together for a great time…thank you ❤️

Farewell favourite running shoes…everyone took the piss out of you for looking so shabby but you were loved

Just be kind to yoself

Ever since I can remember I have kept “diaries”….they are basically blogs, but in the 80s and 90s we called them “diaries” and to be honest the ones from back then make for gold reading. The late 80s, early 90s angst ridden musings are tragic. The late 90s drunken entries are the stuff of literary genius. How I tortured myself over my love of the unavailable boys who I thought had my heart, and I struggled with not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up without realising I was already in fact a grown up. I still keep them and sometimes I read them back with wonder at how the themes are timeless. They are in fact therapy and I wish everyone wrote one.

Of course, now I recognise that I am a grown up and now I also know what I want to be when I grow up and I know what I want generally in life, but I continue to diarise the ups and downs; sadly the downs are most prominent as writing it down helps, and I blog, thus allowing my deepest darkest thoughts to become available for a wider audience and it’s exposing but also free-ing and I actually assume that nobody is really reading it anyway…much like the 80s when I didn’t imagine for a second that my mum, Dad or sister would ever read those paper diaries hidden under the bed….hmmm

What I take from them though when I read them back, from then to now, is how much I blame myself for things….the unrequited love, the bullying from other kids at school, the problems of my parents, my inability to settle in ANY job I had in the 90’s and my god there were ALOT of them…..the fear of responsibility of being a midwife, the feeling of inadequacy on becoming a mother, the loss of friendships, the failure of marriage, the ups and downs of subsequent relationships, getting run over….I blame myself on paper for most things.

Yesterday and this evening I sat with two wonderful friends and we reflected on all we’ve collectively been through over the past five years that we’ve known each other and I realised that we are all so hard on ourselves. We all blame ourselves for all this life shit that just happens to everyone. We all really should just be kind to ourselves, it’s just a journey, it’s just a story but one that we are individually writing for ourselves and if I’m the main character in my book I want to be nice.

So, be kind to yourself and I’ll try to be kind to me too ❤️